The historic Elmwood Farm located on Route C a few miles outside of Palmyra is said by the current owner to be haunted by numerous spirits. Fortunately, owner Janice Dyer has conducted extensive research on the history of her property and has been able to identify several of the ghosts.

The property was purchased by Andrew Muldrow in 1827. He died in 1846. His estate sold the property to John and Catherine Tinnell Garner in 1853. They build the Italianate mansion, slave quarters, summer kitchen and barn on the land. According to the History of Marion County, the Garners had seven children, all boys except for one daughter. The little girl was named Queen. She drowned in the cistern located near the summer kitchen in 1856 when she was four years old.

John and Queen are still at the farm. John is often seen in the barn and the field. Janice said he is “an angry old man and very cautious with women.”

I captured this photo during my recent visit. Subsequent photos of the summer kitchen did not show any mists until the very end of my visit. I took a picture right before I left which also showed a mist outside the summer kitchen.

summer kitchen with mists
Deena West Budd

Queen is a delight to Janice. She loves to laugh, sing, and hold hands. When her ex-husband Joseph was living in the house, Queen liked playing with him. One day when he was sweeping the nursery not long after they had moved in, he heard a little girl giggling. When he turned around, all of the dirt he had just swept up was all over the floor again.

Early one cold winter Saturday morning when Janice and Joseph returned home, they found small footprints in the snow by the cistern. The prints matched a little girl’s shoe they had found in the house.

little girl's shoe
Deena West Budd

The Garners sold the property to Samuel and India P. Logan in 1867. Although one of their sons died at the tender age of two, the ghost from that family that still resides at the farm is India’s brother, Kellion Franklin Peddicord. He was a Confederate soldier and is buried at the Palmyra cemetery in Samuel and India’s plot. He died in 1905 at the age of 72. He’s very flirtatious with the ladies.

In 1896, the Logans sold the property to Annie Foreman. She lived in the home from 1896 to 1910. Janice believes a spirit they call the lady in white might be Annie. It is said by locals that Annie walked out of the back of the mansion one night, spilling some kerosene on her dress. It caught fire and she died. Her spirit is seen in the parlor wearing white and her hair is worn in a bun.

From 1910 to 1932, the family of George V. Saffarans owned the farm. They had many daughters and were rumored to have big parties during prohibition.

In 1932, the Pickets from St. Louis purchased Elmwood Farm. Mrs. Picket refused to live “in this haunted nightmare of a house.”

In the 1970s, the great grandson of the Pickets added rooms on to the mansion, and it became a hunting lodge for a time. After this, it was uninhabited until the Dyers purchased the property in 2011.

The farm also functioned as a post-Civil War hospital for a time. In the 1920s and 30s, mid-wife services were offered in the mansion.

Janice said there are 32 spirits in the mansion and the most haunted room is the nursery.

Knocking is often heard coming from the attic and the basement. Thumping can sometimes be heard traveling down the staircase.

One of their first experiences occurred when they were unloading the van to move into the house. The sun was shining. Joseph saw Janice walk around the side of the house wearing a dress. He wondered when she had changed clothes. A little later when he saw her again – back in her other clothes - he asked her about it. Janice had not had a dress on at all.

Janice and a friend heard a party going on one night. Violins were playing, people were chatting, and glasses were clinking.

One morning Janice awakened to Queen standing next to her bed wishing her a good morning.

One of the ghosts is called Jessie. He was believed to be a foreman at Elmwood Farm. He is seen in the slave quarters building and causes people to become physically ill.

Nearly a dozen paranormal investigations have taken place thus far at Elmwood Farm. Many eerie EVPs have been captured, and one video shows a little girl coming down the staircase and walking out the back door.

Before the boards were removed from the nursery windows, a team experienced Queen giving a big hug to one of the investigators. They all saw his shirt being squeezed.

One rather cocky young investigator was egging the spirits on. He changed his tune after “a cat was thrown in his face and he went outside by his vehicle and cried like a baby.”

Janice appears to be very happy with the spirits inhabiting her home. She is not at all afraid. She did say that a lot of guests will not come back to visit Elmwood Farm, “but they are usually annoying people” and the spirits do not want them there anyway.

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